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April 5, 1991     The Message
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April 5, 1991

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4 Editorial The Mqssage :-, fr Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ' , ,' 1 'l-I i ' Ti i ..... , ' ' ' , ", i ' A irii 5, 1,991 By PAUL LEINGANG Message Editor The sky was grey early one morning last week, and not even trees full of flowers brightened the view. White blossoms blended into the blandness of the sky and disappeared. The world was flat. The daylight, too weak to cast a shadow. Growing grass was surely green, but even lawns and roadside fields -- "verdant pastures" we might call them -- seemed dull and uninviting. They offered no repose, no peaceful beauty, for they had given in to the overcast sky that covered the world. The fields of green had turned to grey. With the suddeness of sunlight, however, trees emerged from the background and stood out sharp- ly from their surroundings. Individual blossoms claimed the eye s attention with their beauty. Grey skies evaporated, driven away by sunlight. Fields grew green. Blades of grass shivered in the breeze, shaking to earth the morning's Vatican Letter Light of ChKis00 opens us up to one ,.r moisture. Such is the power of sunlight. The scene was repeated during the Easter Vigil. In a church dark and dim, nearby faces are dif- ficult to discern. Distant faces are featureless, for without the light, there is no shadow and without shadow there is no depth nor detail. The stained glass windows of the church are helpless at night. Darkness is so strong, even sounds seem dull, deadened. With the suddenness of a spark, a flame is lit. The ceremonial fire finds its way into our fearful souls and we realize that somehow this is more than ceremony. This is symbol, but it is more. This is reality, and it is more. This is light come to our individual darkness. This is the light that brings definition to the faces i ,L I around us. We came in hope to watch the resurrec- tion, and we found in it ourselves revealed. This is light that gives shape and depth and color to the community. This is light which takes away our sameness -- each of us, a blossom on a tree or a blade of grass in'a field. This is light that brings brightness even to the grave -- not just of him who died for us, but for all of us who live in him. This is Easter light among us, light for the liv- ing, a transforming light that insists with its clarity that we be revealed to our neighbors. No more will they be dark shapes and dull forms around us, nor can we be hidden to them. The same light which reveals the face of a neighbor to me reveals my face to my neighbor. It is the light of Christ which opens us one to another, and in our openess we bring the light of Christ to those around us. Guns aplenty and a dearth 01yellow J "b By LAURIE HANSEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan recently shook Washington with his observation that "dur- ing every 100 hours on our streets we lose three times more young men than were killed in 100 hours of ground war in the Persian Gulf." Yet "where are the yellow ribbons of hope and remem- brance?... Where is the con- certed, heartfelt commitment to supporting the children of this war?" Sullivan asked in a speech March 13. Violent street crime and pro- posals to eliminate it have been popular themes in the halls of Washington this spring as political concerns abruptly shifted from a high-tech war half a world away to a blood- stained homefront. President Bush March 11 sent to Congress a crime package that would authorize the death penalty for 30 federal offenses and lengthen prison sentences for criminals caught with guns. The package would also streamline procedures for ex- pulsion of aliens suspected of Tb'MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47724..0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville terrorism and allow firearms to be used as evidence of federal crimes even if they were seized during an illegal search. Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress responded by pushing their own plans for gun-control legislation, including a crime bill introduced by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that would ban 14 automatic weapons in addition to expan- ding the death penalty applica- tion. House Democrats also are pushing passage of the so- called Brady Bill, requiring a seven-day waiting period for all gun purchases. The bill is named for former presidential press secretary James S. Brady, who suffered permanent paralysis when he was shot by a gunman trying to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Sharon M. Daly, U.S. bishops' director for domestic social development, told Catholic News Service March 26 that "we're disappointed that the administration's bill didn't include strong gun. con- trol provisions and that it did include an expansion of the death penalty." The U.S. bishops have con- sistently argued against the death penalty -- called for in both the administration and the Biden bills -- saying a return to its use leads to "further erosion of respect for life in our society." On guns, the bishops' posi- I tion goes beyond a ban on assault weapons, said Daly. "The bishops want real gun control," she said. Trinitarian Father John Seymour, in residence at Our Lady of Victory Parish in bullet- strewn central Los Angeles, told CNS a ban on assault weapons and greater numbers of police officers, especially beat cops, were essential to cut- ting crime. Since California banned sales of assault weapons in 1989, he said, "we've seen a lot less of them on the streets." The only. reason assault weapon sales aren't yet banned in this country is that "politi- cians are paid and purchased by the NRA," the priest charged, referring to the powerful Na- tional Rifle Association lobby. Father Seymour argues that increased use of the death penalty is no crime deterrent. "I hear confessions of a lot of gang kids. They've lost hope. Life isn't important to them." A 1988 Gallup poll showed that Catholics in this country tend to favor gun control. According to the survey of members of various religious denominations, 74 percent of Catholics favored registration of all firearms, 90 percent backed requiring a license for all guns carried outside the home and 94 percent favored a national law requiring a seven-day waiting period before a handgun could be purchased. In each case the percentage of Catholics was significantly higher than for Protestants, Letter to the editor t 'l On behalf of consolidation To the editor, It is distressing to learn that plans for consolidation of several Eastside schools have been discontinued. One administrator who was involved in the planning was quoted, "It is difficult to give up what we have always had." On behalf of all supprters of consolidation, and especially on behalf of all the students in- volved, one might respond, "It is difficult to miss the advan- tages that have never been possible!" Elizabeth Riedford evangelicals, those classified as "non-evangelicals" and for U.S. residents in general. The same patterns emerged in attitudes about gun owner- ship. While the study found 51 percent of U.S. residents said they own a gun, the figure was 59 percent for Protestants, 57 Published weekly except la.=t week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville, Publisher .... Bishop Gerald ,'. Gettelfipger Associate Publisher .... Rev. Joseph Ziliak Edlt(r ..... : ............ Fsul Leingang Production Mgr .............. Phil BocJer CffJAdv Mgr ........... Paul A Newtand Address all communication,, to PO Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Phone (812) 425536. Subecriptior rate: $1 7.50 per year Single Copy Price: 50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post of- fice in Evansville, IN 4770t. Publication number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to the Office of Publication. Copyright 1991 Catholic Press of Evansville l percent for evangelicals, 48 per- 1 cent for non-evangelicals and g only 38 percent for Catholics. But there is no question powerful guns remain readily available across the nation. Especially hard-hit has been the youth in the country's African- American communities. Bish ,'s schedule The following activities and events are listed on the schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger: fl